On Saturday, May 9, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) announced that Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) will resume international flight arrivals from Monday, May 11, following new entry requirements introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. As such, the airport will operate on a limited basis with a cap on passenger arrivals. International charter flights will be permitted to land on Mondays and Thursdays whilst commercial flights will be permitted to land on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays so long as they secure permission from CAAP 48 hours prior to departure. According to the CAAP's statement, the new measures will remain in place at MNL until Wednesday, June 10.
On Tuesday, April 28, authorities announced that enhanced community quarantine would continue in a number of high-risk areas until at least Friday, May 15. Areas under the enhanced measures include: Metro Manila, Central Luzon (excluding Calaborzon), Pangasinan province, Benguet province, Bagui City, Illoilo province, Cebu province, Cebu City, and Davao City.
Under the enhanced community quarantine measures, all individuals have been ordered to stay at home, and only one person per household will be allowed to leave and purchase necessities. The restrictions do not apply to employees from essential sectors. The government has advised those aged above 60 and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions not to leave their homes. Individuals who must leave their homes will need to bring along the identification documents as stipulated by authorities, to be presented at the checkpoints. Security forces have been deployed to ensure compliance with the lockdown measures, and authorities have ordered the police and military to open fire at individuals who do not abide by the controls. Supermarkets, public markets, convenience stores, clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies will continue to remain open, while restaurants will be limited to take out and deliveries. In addition, buses, jeepneys, trains, and all mass public transport have been suspended except for the transport of cargo. Many local government units have also announced overnight curfews, most commonly between 20:00 to 05:00 (local time).
As a precautionary measure, all foreign nationals have been banned from entering the country since Sunday, March 22. Returning Filipino nationals are required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
As of May 9, there have been 10,610 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 704 associated fatalities in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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